Knowing whether or not someone is interested in you can be a tricky thing. For instance, when you’re dating and trying to figure people out, the little things they do or say can get easily misinterpreted. Luckily, there are physical “tells” that can help you figure out if someone is into you that you can watch out for. All you need to do is pay close attention.
There’s a fascinating science behind body language. The good news is, you don’t really need to study it all to become an expert. According to Pierce, there are some pretty basic “tells” which can clue you into whether or not the person standing in front of you is into you or not. So if you want to know if someone’s interested in you, here are some things they may do.
1. Their Breathing Will Get A Little Bit Deeper
“In our line of work, we boil down the complexities of non-verbal communication down to two categories: openness and closure,” Pierce says. When you’re on a date or trying to ask someone out, your job is to be able to tell when the person across from you is “opening or closing.”
When someone is “closing,” their arms will cross, their legs will cross away from you, their brows will furrow, and their breathing may become shallow. “When the body closes, it’s indicating discomfort with the moment,” Pierce says. It’s a very, very subtle way of saying, “no” to whatever is happening.
When someone is “opening,” they’ll turn their body towards you, cross their legs in your direction, and their breath will relax and get a little deeper. “This is telling you they’re comfortable, they like what’s going on, and they feel safe around you,” he says.
Keep in mind, if someone closes themselves to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not into you. “As human beings intimately relating to one another, our bodies are going to open and close spontaneously, dozens of times per minute,” Pierce says. “When you get really good at reading the cues, you can start to notice this in others — you can even start noticing it in yourself. Most people are shocked by this.”
2. They Keep Their Focus On Your Face And Upper Body Initially
It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to figure out if someone is into you is to look into their eyes. As David Barbour, co-founder of Vivio Life Sciences, tells Bustle, “Eye contact is the most important indication of mutual attraction.”
It’s true. In fact, a 2018 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that you can tell if someone’s attracted to you based on where they focus their gaze. People who identified a person as being “mate potential” kept their eyes focused on the chest, hip-to-waist area, and head upon seeing them for the first time.
People only interested in pursuing a friendship, spent more time initially focusing on the person’s feet and legs. Researchers found that individuals felt making eye contact with someone they just met can be taken the wrong way. So focusing their gaze lower is less likely to give someone the wrong impression that they’re interested when they’re not. This happens whether you realize it or not.
3. They Check Out Your Chest And Leg Areas
In the same 2018 study on eye tracking, it was also found that people who were interested in a relationship with someone will focus their attention on someone’s chest and leg area. Women who focused on a man’s hip-to-waist ratio longer were more likely to say they were romantically interested than women who focused on a man’s head longer.
4. Their Pupils Will Dilate
This one may take a little work on your part. But if you can find a way to not make it awkward, looking at someone’s pupils can be very telling. As Maryann Karinch, body language expert and author tells Bustle, “Our pupils naturally dilate in fight or flight to take in more information about threats, but they also dilate when we’re into someone.”
5. They Mirror Your Actions
Mirroring occurs naturally when someone wants to connect with you, Karinch says. If you’re not too familiar with the term, it’s fairly easy to spot. You’ll lean a little bit in, and they’ll lean in too. “Head tilts, arm position, angling the body are subtle shifts in position that indicate mirroring are normal and natural when someone is into you,” she says. The keyword here is “subtle.” This should be happening naturally. “If you do something really odd and the other person responds with a similar move, you might wonder if you’re being played,” she says. So just be mindful of that.
6. They Match Your Pace When You’re Walking Together
If someone matches your pace when you are walking together, Poppy and Geoff Spencer, relationship counselors and experts, tell Bustle that’s a physical “tell” they’re into you. This not only shows that they want to be close to you, but they’re respectful to not be too far ahead or behind if you’re having a conversation.
7. They Get Nervous Around You
When someone becomes nervous around you, Londin Angel Winters, sacred intimacy coach and co-author of The Awakened Woman’s Guide to Everlasting Love tells Bustle, that’s a sign that they care. “Someone who acts like they could care less around you might just truly care less,” she says. Confidence is super attractive, but you shouldn’t automatically write someone off who fumbles with their words or is slightly awkward around you. According to Winters, this is the type of person who would put in the effort to win you over. Some people are better at hiding it than others, but look out for any signs of nervousness. That could indicate they’re totally into you.
Keep in mind that signals can easily get misinterpreted. “When people like each other, especially when one party likes the other to a larger degree, these tendencies and ‘tells’ to look for, get blurred by excitement, awkwardness, lust, and a hundred other personal idiosyncrasies and secrets the other person is not privy to,” Barbour says. That’s why reading other people really is “guess work at best.”
All you can really do is be your genuinely awesome self. If they’re into that, you’ll know. If not, you’ll find someone who is.
This post was originally published on Bustle.com.